Cream Puffs on Italian Steroids: St Joseph’s Pastries at Enrico's
You may not be able to pronounce sfinge and zeppole, but regardless you’ll want to get these whopping sweets at Enrico’s in Hartsdale through March 19.
Sfinge filled with cannoli cream.
Photos by Meaghan Glendon
This time of year the end of winter is in sight (such as it was, with but one major storm thus far and lots of above normal temps), and all things spring start to percolate. Baseball’s spring training is underway, which admittedly puts some to sleep, excites others like myself (especially since the entire Mets rotation is healthy and looking stellar), plus Easter, Passover, backyard gardening season, and warmer weather to follow shortly after Opening Day.
Also soon (March 19) is the Catholic celebration of St. Joseph’s Day, the patron saint of the family (at one time, the Feast of San Giuseppe, as he is called in Italy, was an Italian national holiday) where he was traditionally honored by families gathering to create enormous fish, bread, and veggie-centric buffets for neighbors and friends.
In the modern age and especially in the U.S., the St. Joseph’s buffets and family meals don’t happen so much anymore; however at bakeries like Enrico’s Pastry Shop in Hartsdale, you can find a pair of exceptional sweets that are traditionally served at St. Joseph’s feasts: zeppole and sfinge.
As with many Italian foods, the names differ depending on the region (some of you may know them as frittelle or bigne) but in the U.S. zeppole and sfinge are the most common terms. The pastries may be fried or baked (Enrico’s are lightly fried) and are filled with a sweetened ricotta aka cannoli cream (sfinge), or custard (zeppole). The more robustly stuffed sfinge are topped with a modest amount of small-diced candied fruit, mini chocolate chips, and pistachios plus a Maraschino cherry for a flash of color. The zeppole have a handful of sour cherries and a dusting of powdered sugar.
There may not be all the parades like for St. Patrick two days prior, but after you taste these pastries, you may want to start one.
Enrico’s Pastry Shop
200 E Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale